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Acclaimed Olympic wrestler Clarissa Chun named as Iowa head women's wrestling coach

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) -- The Iowa Hawkeyes have named Olympian and USA Wrestling assistant coach Clarissa Chun as the head coach of the new University of Iowa women's wrestling team. 

Athletic Director Gary Barta made the announcement on Thursday. 

“Clarissa is the perfect fit to lead us in our journey to build a championship women’s wrestling program,” Barta said. “Her credentials speak for themselves, and her approach and philosophy match well with our Win. Graduate. Do it Right. values.”

The addition of women's wrestling was announced in September and Iowa will be the first NCAA Division I, Power Five conference institution to offer women's wrestling as an intercollegiate program.

The program comes as part of a settlement in a Title IX lawsuit from several Hawkeye female athletes. The team will begin competition in the 2023-24 year.

Men's wrestling coach Tom Brands says that Chun is the best person for the job. 

“Gary Barta and Barbara Burke said from the beginning that they would target the best person for the job and that’s exactly what they did,” Brands said. “Clarissa Chun has charisma. She has credentials. She has championships. She commands respect and the wrestlers that come to school here are going to love her. This is a big deal for the University of Iowa.”

Before taking the job with the Hawkeyes, Chun was an assistant coach for the women's national wrestling team from 2017-21. She coached under Terry Steiner at USA Wrestling, where she says she was able to grow as a person and a coach.

During her professional career, she competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, winning a bronze medal in the London Games. She also wrestled at five Senior World Championships, winning gold in 2008, won five U.S. Open titles, and won medals at the Pan American Games and the Pan American Championships. 

For her collegiate career, Chun competed for Missouri Valley College, where she was inducted into Hall of Fame in 2018.

Chun will be inducted in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member in June, 2022, and will become one of only four women with such honors. 

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